It’s a slow Saturday for FanDuel NBA, as we only have five games on today’s slate. At first glance, I wasn’t terribly excited about the games today. There are a lot of slow-paced teams in action, and none of the elite teams that we prefer target in our lineups. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t identify the best plays of the day, and a difficult slate like tonight’s is definitely going to favor those who research and prepare. Let’s take a look at the players I feel comfortable rostering tonight. Remember to temper your scoring expectations tonight. It’s likely that lower scores than normal will be required to cash in your games.
Langston Galloway, New York Knicks, $4,600 – It doesn’t matter that you likely had never heard of Langston Galloway two weeks ago. All that matters is that he’s starting for a Knicks team that suddenly looks like a real basketball team. He has immediately stepped in produced very solid stat lines, and until his price reflects his level of production, he’s going to be an automatic play for me every night. He draws a great matchup with a Hornets team that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing shooting guards (Galloway is listed as a PG, but starts at SG) over the last three weeks. Charlotte has also been trying to push the pace of play lately, which will benefit all of the Knicks players. Galloway is one of those players you don’t overthink. Just get him in your lineups.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, $9,000 – Portland is down to two of their original starting five. Nicolas Batum re-injured his wrist last game, and he will likely miss tonight’s game. With LaMarcus Aldridge likely out until mid to late March, Portland’s offensive options are becoming very thin. Lillard is going to have to shoulder much of the offensive load, and while the Wizards are a tough defensive team, extremely high usage and heavy minutes more than make up for a bad matchup. Lillard is the clear top option at point guard, and he should be targeted liberally in both cash games and GPPs.
Additional Plays: Brandon Knight
Wesley Matthews, Portland Trail Blazers, $5,900 – Washington is a team I try to avoid targeting whenever possible. They play very good defense, making it difficult to target them with opposing players. But Matthews sees a dramatic increase in shot attempts with Aldridge off the court, and he’ll likely need to take on even more responsibility with Nicolas Batum sidelined as well. The Blazers don’t have much depth off the bench, so it’s going to be a healthy dose of Lillard and Mathews tonight.
Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets, $6,300 – Johnson is a player I don’t roster often, but given that there are no top-tier shooting guard options tonight, he’s on my radar due to his floor and his matchup. He’s a more consistent option than Beal or Giannis, and he should see a boost in a plus matchup with the Jazz. Utah is in the bottom third of the league against opposing shooting guards over the course of the season, and within the last three weeks, they’re dead last. Johnson hasn’t exactly stepped up in the absence of Deron Williams, but he’s capable of high upside, and, aside from Mathews, he’s the best option out of a very thin group of shooting guards.
Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks, $9,600 – Despite talks of being shut down for the season, Carmelo Anthony is playing very well right now, leading the Knicks to three straight wins. They’re not beating good teams, and they’ll face another weak team tomorrow when they travel to Charlotte to take on the Hornets. The matchup isn’t ideal, but Melo is looking like a lock for about 40 fantasy points on a nightly basis, and the lack of good small forward options makes him and even stronger play.
Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz, $7,400 – I like the idea of just paying up for the two top guys at small forward. It’s hard to trust the other guys at SF outside of GPPs, and since there are plenty of value plays, and there’s no way to spend much at SG, you can afford to pay for players like Anthony and Hayward. In GPPs, feel free to take shots on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeff Green, but in cash games, safety is king. Hayward is a consistent option that should be good for about 30 fantasy points.
Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons, $8,300 – I love Greg Monroe. Since the Pistons dumped Josh Smith, Monroe has been putting up big numbers on a nightly basis. The Bucks are middle of the pack against opposing power forwards this season, but If they’re going to continue to start Ersan Ilyasova, I expect that to change. Ilyasova, or anyone else on this roster for that matter, has no hope of slowing Monroe down, and he should, once again, finish with around 40 fantasy points. For his price, that’s a terrific return, especially on a night where lower overall scores should be expected.
Jason Smith, New York Knicks, $4,100 – Smith has played well over 30 minutes his last three games, and with the Knicks winning all three of those games, I wouldn’t expect too many changes from coach Derek Fisher. Amar’e Stoudemire will likely play and come off the bench, but his 20 or so minutes will cut into guys like Lou Amundson, not Smith. Smith has scored, 28, 24, and 30 fantasy points since earning extra playing time, and he’ll continue to be a terrific value play as long as that continues.
Enes Kanter, Utah Jazz, $6,200 – One of the things you can rely on in daily fantasy NBA is that when Derrick Favors misses games, Enes Kanter is almost certain to have a big game. He shoots more, he rebounds more, and his minutes are much more stable. As of this writing, I have no idea if Derrick Favors is going to play, but I have to present the scenario. If Favors does miss his second straight game with a personal issue (keep an eye on our News Feed for updates), Kanter is my top play at center. Rudy Gobert also becomes a solid play, but I prefer Kanter since he’s more of a weapon on offense. If Favors plays, I would look elsewhere.
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons, $8,400 – Marc Gasol would normally be a solid play, but Memphis is likely going to blow the Sixers out, so it’s hard to imagine him playing 30 minutes tonight. Tonight’s matchup between the Pistons and Bucks should be close, and if Drummond can stay out of foul trouble, he should play 30 minutes tonight. He’s losing time due to his poor foul shooting, but with so few options, sometimes we just have to take what we can get. He should dominate the Bucks interior on his way to a big stat line.